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 Archibald Cary Smith  (1837 - 1911)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey      Known for: marine painting, ship design, engraving, magazine illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Archibald Cary Smith
from Auction House Records.
A New York Yacht Club cutter racing off a coast
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A naval yacht designer and marine artist, Archibald Cary Smith was successful at both professions. His accomplishments include the design of the 1881 America's Cup defender, Mischief, and also the historic yachts Meteor, Iroquois, Resolute and Fortuna.

Many of his works incorporated elements of danger, a sense of the immensity of the ocean and uncontrolled environment--all a part of the prevalent 19th century romanticism.

As a young man, he learned drafting and boat-building skills and studied painting with M.F.H. De Haas. In the 1860s, he was exhibiting at the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy.

It is thought that he painted fewer than 200 works, with several including a large painting titled Wanderer in the collection of the New York Yacht Club where his patron was banker James Stillman.

The Magazine Antiques, July 2009

Biography from Cavalier Galleries Inc.:
Naval architect, philosopher and marine painter A.S. Smith acquired his taste for the water at an early age.  He grew up in New York, with the eastern shore of the Hudson river for a playground.  Close by his home was the shipyard of the great William Webb, and across the river in Hoboken was moored the fleet of the fledgling New York Yacht Club.  In 1855 “Archie” Smith apprenticed himself to learn the art and mystery of yacht building.

While still in his teens, he learned to draw and lay down lines, which became the foundation for his talent at marine painting. He then studied painting with M.F.H. de Haas. Smith soon became one of America’s foremost designers of large schooner yachts, but his passion and skill at marine painting was his greatest legacy.

By the 1860's Smith’s paintings were being well received at exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy and the National Academy of Design. This led to illustrations for popular magazines and engravings. Although he designed great schooners until well into his seventies, his nature led him to prefer clients who sought him out for paintings rather than his famous yacht designs. It is believed Smith painted less than 200 works, making them quite rare commodities today.

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